Thursday, September 15, 2011

What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest? Stand up.

Norway looks like home. Oslo was all wet and pines and coffee.

I flew into Bodø expecting to catch a bus and ferry home.
However, I was greeted by the blonde and beaming Jonas and Erik, at the airport.
They drove me home over bright fjords and ship swallowing eddies, through mountain tunnels and dark pines.

It was dark out but we caught a glimpse of the wide, blood red, horizon in the distance. 

We are above the arctic circle. There are moose and tall trees and nettles.

We got into the base around eleven in the evening. I was the last student to arrive.
Tegan (Canada), Ann J (Taiwan) and I all share a room.
It's clean and warm and bright and looks out over the islands.

Roomies visit the store.
There are 11 students in the DTS. With ages ranging from 18-40
We have one student from Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Taiwan and the rest are from Norway. 

I'm the only American. 
Although, the only other American on base is also from Bellingham! It's a small, small world.

Nordtun Base
The first day we had worship and a brief instruction on campstoves.

Campstoves? Oh, yes!
 Because the next morning we were off on a four day ice-climbing and backpacking trip to Svartisen

Backpack, Backpack

Ferry to Svartisen
Biking to base camp

If I'm being honest. The first day was nightmarish. 
Ice climbing. Pouring rain. Heavy fog. Norwegian instructions.

Also, there is nothing quite as humbling as falling down on your butt half a dozen times in front of a bunch of strangers.

Back at camp, I was in charge of food.
Unfortunately, I couldn't read the instructions (Norwegian, again).
I sat around confusedly, trying to ask for the translation and convert measurements into the metric system.

Then the sky cleared up.

The second day of climbing started off just as frustrating as the first day. 
...but that was before I discovered that I had been using my ice axe in my RIGHT hand. 

I'm left-handed

...yes (and blonde)

After that illuminating discovery, it was dreamy.
I loved climbing.

That night we met up with the other half of the group who had been backpacking up on the mountain for the first two days.
We ate a massive dinner.

Salmon noodle dinner
My leader, Oystein, glanced around the surrounding spruce forest and asked if I'd like to learn how to chop down a tree.
Ummm, yes!

"Perhaps, this is the biggest herb you have been picking?"

Then he built a huge fire, on dry moss, on public land.
You can do that in Norway.
(You can also camp anywhere, even in someone's yard, as long as you're more than 150 meters from their house)

The next morning we hiked up to Tåkeheimen and the sun came out to join us.
It was more of a scramble than a hike. 4km and 1454meters up a very slick mountain. 
The trails aren't often named or clearly marked, here.
 It's so wild and rugged.

The best part was discovering that there are mountain blueberries growing here as well. 
I love living in Scandinavia.

Bringing the heat.
We arrived at our mountaintop cabin way ahead of schedule so we took off,
 up the path, over the glacier, above the clouds, to the peak, Hegelandsbukken!

Oh. Glory.

I hiked back down with Olga (Netherlands) and we shared our journeys and excitement in the golden hour. 
She is a kindred spirit for sure.

We cooked all the rest of our food back at the cabin.
Sausages. Macaroni. Tomato soup. Turkey burgers.
 It was so hygge.
Just like Thanksgiving.

"We have a never ending supply of sausages in Nordtun.
They grow in the freezer."
I'm continually being reminded that good does not mean comfortable or safe.
 Papa is continuing to meet me in the unknowns and the uncomfortable.

 I'm so thankful to be here.


throughwaters said...

Oh, excellent. Keep the hilarious quotes coming! ..and keep learning the good stuff that God is teaching you ever so abruptly.

Sarah E. Richardson said...

I read this and cried and cried and cried. Both because I miss you and because I'm so happy I could burst. I am so excited to follow all your adventures. Love you!

Jamma said...

You are utterly amazing!!
I am very proud of you and happy that you are so happy.
Luv, Jamma♥♥

αуℓα said...

ohhhh my goodness.

BEAUTIFUL pictures. norway looks AMAAAAZING.

i can't believe all the things you've done already, i feel the need to sleep after just *reading* your post. how can one person have so much adventure???

Graucky said...

Oh goldfish, Papa has sooo many more amazing adventures planned for you! And I can't wait to hear more about them!

Collins said...

LEGIT...that's the only word I have for this. What you shared was edifying and inspirational...glad you're in Norway, sister!